Indoor air quality is a concern shared by many individuals, and there is good reason for this. The quality and cleanliness of air inside a home or workplace can be impacted by many things, and effectively, some of the pollutants inside buildings today may cause health issues that range from basic allergic responses to serious or life-threatening conditions such as cancer. Understanding more about what the pollutants found inside buildings are and what you can do to improve indoor air quality is important if you want to protect your health and the health of those who spend time inside your home or business building.
Common Pollutants Found Inside Buildings
When you think about indoor air pollutants, you may think about things like animal dander, dust and perhaps mold spores. These are commonly associated with dirty air ducts, and you may believe that you can remove the pollutants by simply replacing your air filters in your HVAC system and keeping your air ducts clean. However, there are other common pollutants found in modern homes and commercial buildings today. For example, tobacco smoke, chemicals from furnishings and cabinetry, chemicals from carpeting and flooring, radon, combustion gases from cooking and pesticides are just a few of the many types of pollutants that you and your loved ones may be exposed to on a regular basis inside your home. These can cause immediate health issues, and some can cause serious and even fatal health issues.
Why This is a Growing Problem
In previous decades and centuries, buildings were not designed with peak energy efficiency in mind. While they offered protection from the elements, many were drafty and allowed more air to circulate between the indoor and outdoor environment. Today's modern structures are well-sealed, and this means that more of the pollutants that are found or even created inside a building remain in this area. In some cases, it is estimated that indoor air quality may be considerably more polluted than outdoor air. Opening windows from time to time to allow fresh air into the structure is a great idea, but this alone is not the only step that you need to take to create a healthier indoor environment in your building.
Purifying Your Indoor Air
The United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has released a statement that indicates that eliminated chemical emissions inside a home or building is the best way to effectively improve indoor air quality. Laws at the local, state and federal level generally do not regulate emissions from products, but many environmental agencies and public health organizations have released information and recommendations regarding minimal exposure levels for various products that create pollutants. You may consider becoming more aware about how your flooring, clothing, furniture, cleaning products, paint and even the materials used to construct the building can impact air quality in the building. Knowledge is essential in combating air pollution. Bryant air purification equipment may be used to reduce the pollutants that you cannot eliminate through improved product choices.
Why Air Purification Equipment Can Be Beneficial
Volatile Organic Compounds, which are also known as VOCs, are one of the most common types of air pollutants to cause immediate health symptoms in people of all ages. There are various types of VOCs, and the individual's length of time exposed to the pollutant, individual health status and overall type of exposure may impact the severity and type of symptoms. In addition, conditions inside the structure, such as temperature, humidity, type of ventilation system and overall age of the building can also play a role in the type and severity of symptoms. Some of the more immediate health symptoms that individuals exposed to VOCs may experience include:
- Headaches, dizziness or general confusion
- Irritation in the throat, nose and eyes
- Rashes or other allergic skin responses
- Respiratory difficulties
- Stomach upset, including vomiting or nausea
- Coordination issues
When exposed to VOCs over a longer period of time or on a regular basis, additional health issues may be a concern. Some of the long-term or chronic health concerns associated with exposure to VOCs include
- Heart, kidney or liver damage
- Central nervous system issues
- Various types of cancer
In addition to these concerns, those who are exposed to VOCs as well as mold spores through indoor air pollution may also be at an increased risk for developing respiratory diseases or for existing respiratory conditions worsening. Some of these issues may be permanent and may continue to plague the individual even when the pollutants are removed from the environment. Some of these include:
- Hay fever or allergies
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
Health Concerns Resulting From Exposure to Mold
Mold spores are commonly found in residential and commercial structures as well, and exposure to mold may have acute or immediate health responses. Some issues may persist with a long-term impact on health. Mold exposure may result in:
- Concentration and memory issues
- Throat, nose and eye irritation
The mold exposure symptoms are often referred to as sick building syndrome. The acute symptoms may improve when the individual is removed from the environment or when indoor air quality improves. However, exposure to mold may cause flare ups with existing chronic conditions, including allergies, asthma and more.
It is important to learn more about your property's indoor air quality and to take steps to purify and clean the air as needed.